LAHAINA - The "Weekend Warrior" Troublemaker continued to live up to its name, bringing in a 429.6-pound blue marlin - the largest in four months for Lahaina Harbor, setting the bar for the charter sport fishing boats.
Capt. Bob Schnoor headed to the north shore of Molokai with team members Derek Escalera, son Derek Jr. and Sonny Mauga. They picked up a mahi off Moku Ho'oniki Island, then headed out to troll the 200-fathom ledge off Halawa.
Just as they reached the 100-fathom ledge, they had a strike on the short rigger position. The marlin pulled off about 50 yards of 130-test line before the rubber band broke from the rigger. It continued for another 50 yards before it started jumping, head and shoulders out of the water, pushing a lot of whitewater.
From left, Derek Escalera, Derek Escalera Jr., Capt. Bob Schnoor and Sonny Mauga with their 429.6-pound blue marlin caught on Troublemaker. PHOTO BY DONNELL TATE.
Bob was on the deck adjusting the lures and saw the rubber band break. Derek was at the helm and slowed the boat as Bob and Sonny started clearing lines. Derek Jr. went to the starboard gunnel and sat behind the rod.
The marlin started coming back toward the boat around the starboard side, passing them up and putting a big bow in the line. Bob made the call to chase after the fish. Derek pulled up the starboard rigger as Derek Jr. spun the rod forward in the gunnel.
Derek chased after the marlin for about five minutes, as Derek Jr. gained around 100 yards in the process. Once they caught up to the fish, Bob went to the helm, turning the stern around toward the fish and reversing after it.
The marlin took off on a 300- to 400-yard run, getting them way down into the Dacron backing but staying near the surface. Derek Jr. switched out the rod, moving it to the fighting chair, with Derek getting him hooked up into the fighting harness. Sonny took over guiding the chair.
Bob started maneuvering the boat after the fish, both engines idle reverse and then forward - whatever the fight demanded - trying to keep tension on the line as Derek Jr. packed the spool. They had a good angle on the marlin, with it starting to slowly rise.
The marlin made a couple of 50- to 100-yard runs over the next 30 minutes, with them finally getting it close to leader. The entire fight, everybody kept telling Derek Jr., "It's only a 150-pounder - crank it in." He was the only one that saw it jump, clearing the surface several times, and called it 250-plus.
Sonny took over at the helm as Bob went to the deck with Derek. The last ten minutes, it was a give-and-take tug of war for Derek Jr. He would get the marlin up to where they could see color, and then it would dig down and turn, swimming away strong 20-30 yards.
The marlin came to leader about five minutes later, swimming up the starboard side. They still didn't know how big the fish was. Derek was ready to take the fish. He took a good wrap on the leader and started to pull. Bob looked down and saw how big and lit-up the fish was, still swimming strong, so he made the call to Derek to let it go.
Sonny maneuvered the boat away from the fish to keep it from going under the boat as it pulled out 20-30 yards. It took Derek Jr. about five minutes to get it back to leader. Bob wanted the marlin tired before they tried to take it. No need to rush things.
The marlin was about 4-5 yards deep off the starboard corner. It wasn't lit-up any more and wasn't swimming as strong. Derek grabbed the leader, took a wrap and pulled. Bob helped to guide the fish away from the swim step as it tried to go under the boat, as Sonny idled one engine ahead.
Derek took another wrap on the leader and held on as Bob stepped back and grabbed the fly-gaff. Derek took a third wrap and pulled the fish up the side, with Bob putting a securing gaff into it. This was Derek Jr.'s biggest marlin.